Remote learning has been a challenge for some in the developed world, but this pales in comparison to the situation faced by most in developing countries. Rural communities in Latin America, with little connectivity, have found it practically impossible.
A former vice-minister of education in Peru explained, “Remote education in social isolation is unprecedented and to make matters worse, there are structural problems that afflict education in Peru. The country still finds it almost impossible to offer a remote service for rural areas.”
“Remote education in social isolation is unprecedented and to make matters worse, there are structural problems that afflict education in Peru.”
Former Vice-Minister of Education, Peru
A former analyst at Superintendencia Nacional de Educación Superior Universitaria (SUNEDU) in Peru describes schemes that are trying to help, “There are public investment programmes that seek to solve this problem such as Cuna más, Juntos and Qali Warma but they can’t reach every child.”
The former vice-minister hopes that the pandemic can also be used as an opportunity, “From the pedagogical angle, there is an opportunity for Peruvian education to enter the digital age, in combination with face-to-face education. It is not just a matter of connectivity, but above all pedagogical renewal, to focus on the lives of students: solving real world problems instead of theoretical content.”
Despite the challenges, it is generally perceived that the Peruvian government is doing what they can given the circumstances, a former education official in Peru summarises, “The decision to prioritise the rural population to close the digital divide will probably be the most salient action of this government.”
“The decision to prioritise the rural population to close the digital divide will probably be the most salient action of this government.”
Former education official, Peru
As a partial solution, the Ministry of Education launched “I Learn at Home”, a national strategy for remote education for children and teenagers. UNICEF installed loudspeakers to broadcast remote lessons in communities without internet or television signals, guaranteeing access to remote education for children and teenagers in the Peruvian Amazon. This means installing loudspeakers in the top of the community’s tallest trees, next to the school cafeteria, where students gather around to learn.
Looking to the future, a former education official believes there should be three areas of focus, “There needs to be support for technical assistance for teachers, a channel for attention to the socio-emotional problems that the children will face, and clear support for innovative teams of teachers that exist throughout the country – often working silently and without support.”